The Evil DM

The Evil DM
The Evil DM

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

More Than One-Way to Skin a Vault

A key to keeping player's interest is to provide unique and unusual situations. The party fights its way through a horde of creatures. Victorious, the party searches for treasure. They find the entrance to a vault. At this point, the party says, "We take everything of value from the vault." The party is now ready to move on. After a while, this gets somewhat boring for both the players and the DM.

Consider this slightly different scenario. The party finds the entrance to a vault. In front of the vault is a pile of the dry, desiccated bodies of a previous group of adventurers. As a last act, one of previous group wrote in their own blood, "Death is waiting behind the door." One way to make the scenario even more interesting is to include a scroll of Speak with Dead among the effects of the dead adventurers.

Clive Barker wrote a short story called "The Inhuman Condition". The plot involves a rope with three knots. Untying a knot unleashes a supernatural beast. A big knot of string holds the vault door closed instead of a complex lock. Scrawled in dried blood is "Don't untie the knot!" The party is now faced the same problem as Alexander the Great when the Phrygians presented him Gordian knot.

When the party opens the vault, the find only a dark green beret monogrammed with the name Julian, a single copper coin, and a note. Written with fine calligraphy the note says, "I left a coin for your trouble."

The image is from a bank vault in Oklahoma after a tornado hit. Twenty-two people survived because they hid in the bank vault. No disrespect is intended for those affected by the tornado.